Fancying up the front door.

I’ve had this post planned since about march. I’m constantly spotting beautifully coloured front doors, I’d start shopping for replacement door accessories (silver instead of the gold we had on), and get so overwhelmed by finishes, prices, fixtures. I’d end up just putting it off.

Then, I spotted a beautiful door whilst browsing Pinterest a few weeks ago, the colour was lovely, but most importantly, the fixtures were all gold. It really made me love what we already had on and it meant I didnt have to replace any of the fittings, (apart from the door knocker, but that was only because I wanted a ring one.)

So that was that, I hopped of to home base to pick up my colour of choice Stone blue in Farrow & ball exterior eggshell.

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Only to find, my local home base is pretty rubbish with what colours they have stocked. As i’m stupidly impatient,  I had a look around the other exterior paints, finding the perfect shade in stock.

Deluxe Weather shield in vast lake  *There’s a list of prices/stockists at the end if you want to pick up the same*



So, before I take you through the (ridiculously simple) process of getting the door painted up, here’s how it started. Well, actually, it started out with one of those faux victorian lantern shaped knockers and our number screwed in just by the letterbox – but eager as ever, I forgot to take a before they came off photo.




Its all pretty bland, and actually a bit scruffy looking. I have thoroughly neglected the front of our house!

First, I had to take off all the fittings. Its actually very easy! The Original knocker was actually screwed in a really inaccessible way, I have no idea how Sam took it off, but he did. I did the rest, and all they needed was a simple unscrewing. (FYI If you have a standard UPVC door, you can take the letterbox of by unscrewing the screws on the inside of the letter box, on the house side of the door. To get the peep hole off, hold the inside of the door part, and screw the outside part. it should come out really easily, the door handle screws off with the screws you can see very easily on the inside half of the handle.



Anyway, so once I had cleared the door, and after filling in the holes with some filler (and leaving it to dry.).  It was time to give it a good scrub down, I used a simple soapy water and my steamer. Once it was sparkling I gave it a pat down with a towel and left for 5 minutes whilst I prepped the paint.

Applying the paint is really easy, two light coats, with a couple of hours in-between for drying time. It really is as simple as that. If your not particularly steady handed, I’d recommend taking the door completely of its hinges. the thing with this project, is if you don’t get your finish right, it really will end up looking worse. Taking the time to prep properly, taking of anything you might accidentally cover in paint is important.



Now, I never got to try the much hyped Farrow and ball, but I can say, absolutely, that I am so glad I got this paint. The finish is beautiful. it went on smoothly, very low fumes, and it dried fairly quickly.



After the second coat went on, I left it to dry long after it was touch dry. Luckily it was quite a nice day, so I used the time with the front door wide open to be out in the front garden fixing’ it up a little.

Finally, after a good 4 hours (at least) I decided it was time to get those fixtures back on. Including that beautiful new knocker… the inspo behind the whole project.



As well as adding the sweetest little Summer wreath.



And following on with fancying that whole area up a little bit, I bought some new olive trees for either side the door, ripped out that awful bit of side fence, painted the flakey area below the door (and the cupboard beside the door) and popped up a brand new door number sign.



And thats really all it took to transform the front of our house! Not bad for an afternoons work really? Here’s the before and afters, the transformation is amazing!!

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Now, lets crack out that job list for the front garden:

– Re-home all of those plants under the kitchen window. Not looking forward to trying to transport the giant rose bush through to the back. Ouch!

– Build a raised bed under the window. 

-Find a shrub that looks beautiful all year round for in the raised beds. (Am I asking too much?)

-Pave the entire garden. There’s no need for that tiny bit of grass out there. 

-New fences. These are roughly 37 years old. I dread to think whats underneath all those layers of paint. 

– Fit outdoor light over the front door. 

So, not much to do then!

I really do think this project has been my favourite, it was really easy, not too expensive, but has maximum effect. The front of your house gives the first impression to the rest and for so long ours hasn’t done the inside any justice, I think it works just perfectly now.




The little woman pretends.


As promised earlier on in the post, here’s what I used for this project.

  • Dulux weather shield, Vast lake – Home base £24.99
  • Walk Exterior Satin, Cornish slate – Wilkos £8.50
  • Gold ring Door knocker – Screwfix £4.49
  • Plant pot- Wilkos £12 (No link sorry!)
  • Pair olive trees – Amazon £37.62 (free postage for prime members.)
  • Door number sign – Ebay £6.99
  • Faux Lavander wreath – Ebay £7.99


Yet, another craft room update.

Out of the rooms in our home, I think the craft room has been given the most blog space so far. Rightly so I suppose, seen as this is where I work, its my room for creating, and I suppose what I create is a reflection of in here . If you can remember way back when this room was first turned into my craft room from being Izzy’s nursery, it looked like this…

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Very… um.. Pink.

Well, I mentioned on Instagram last week that the time had come for me to seriously consider allowing Sam to share my workspace (along with a shared office inspo photo by Young house love. This photo actually got a like and comment from the blogging celebs that are young, house, love. *GAAAAHHHHH*)

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Anyway, so I decided after weighing up all the pro’s and cons, that I would grant Sam a corner of my room. BUT he would have to help me build a new desk (just like the one in the inspo photo). So. he agreed, I drew up a plan of action into my dairy and well here we are. First up, I needed to clear that room out, it has been a storage room for the past few months, so naturally it became filled with all sorts. Also, because of having the new desk built, the old one had to go. Here are a couple of befores.

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What started out as quite a simple, lets build a new desk project. quickly turned into a  ‘lets-redecorate-thewhole-room’ project. Because, y’know. I’m an all or nothing gal. So, first stop. I FINALLY got rid of that bloody awful pink carpet!!! Now, before the professionals start. I know your not supposed to lay laminate over carpet. But. There’s no underlay under this carpet, nor did I fancy spending more money on some. The carpet, besides being a very bright shade of pink is in perfect condition. So we used it as an underlay. Here’s how that process went.

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Then came the painting. I am also completely aware that I should have painted before I laid the new floor – but, like the flooring, I actually had no idea I was doing it until I was stood at the till buying wilko’s colour matt in English sage. I chose this colour because I thought it could be both fresh and in fitting with what was already in the room. The black wall is staying, as are most of my trinkets and frames.

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The third and final part of the room makeover, was building the desk. The thing we actually set out to do in the first place. This part was left soley up to Sam. We made a visit to Savoy timber, and ended up with a 3mt x 75cm slab of 1″ thick MDF for the desk top and the middle shelf, was built out of leftovers from the TV unit build – we really are using up every last bit!- an hour or so and a whole lot of sawdust later. The wall to wall monster desk was built!

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Back out came the Homebase white eggshell (its a firm favourite of mine!) and I gave the entire thing three coats.

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Once it was dry, I could finally get on with my favourite part of any room makeover… dressing. I could put all my little bits back, as well as some lovely new additions. I made up an new curtain for the craft cupboard, bought a giant frame to hang over what is now sam’s part of the desk, injected a little natural life into the room with a fern and bought some pretty little desk organiser bits.

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So thats it! Yet another craft room update – though technically it is now a shared office. I’m thinking this is going to be the last major update in here for quite a while, but there are still some things that need doing for it to be fully finished – Que… my room checklist:

  • Fill the giant frame. Now that Sam’s using this room too, he kind of has a say in what goes up too… so we’re still discussing what should be blown up that big and framed, i’m sure it’ll be decided on soon.
  • Buy matching desk chairs. I’m having a real hard time with this one. I know what I want, I know what sam wants. They aren’t remotely alike, and if I’m being frank, his choice is a hideous generic swivelling office chair. which ain’t gunna’ happen. So… yeah, we’ll see how this one goes.
  • Replace skirting boards.
  • Replace door frame.
  • Replace light fitting. I do love my bird cage light shade, BUT Its not very practical having something hang so low from the ceiling when there’s a 6’3″ guy walking in and out all day. I don’t think I cope having to say “walk around it.” anymore than I already have!


We’re one day into office sharing, it seems to be going well. I understand that his electrical bits need wires. As will the new three screen computer system he’ll be building over the coming weeks *waaahhhhh*. He understands that I like things to look pretty, it’ll be interesting to see how these next few weeks turn out. Either way, the craft room is looking amazing!



The little woman pretends.


*Cost of the room update:

Oak effect laminate floor – Wickes (on sale £4.99 psqm) £45

Paint (English sage)- Wilkos £10

MDF: Savoy timber £20

Fern plant: Homebase £5

Large frame: Amazon £14.95

Smaller black frame: Wilko £6

Artificial desk plant: TKMAXX £5.99

List notepad: TKMAXX £4.99

Bamboo pen pot: Wilkos £2.99

Total cost: £114.92




DIY: Outdoor Chalkboard art.

I mentioned way back in the Decking post about how I wanted to add some chalkboard art out there, I also said keep an eye out on a post about in a few weeks – well here we are with that post. There’s a big blank brick wall out there, and I figured chalk board art would be perfect, cheap, and completely customisable way to stop it looking so absolutely boring.

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This isn’t a tutorial – necessarily, turns out, there are quite a few ways to make a chalk board, most of which you can find over on Pinterest. So this post is just about what I did.

Here’s what I used:

Rustins Quick dry blackboard paint. (£5.52)

Giant piece of MDF left over from the TV unit build (I’m really putting those scraps to use!)

Graphite pencil. (£2.50 for 6)

Printouts (more on them a little further down.)

Chalk la chalk pens. (10.95 for pack of 8)


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What I did was actually very simple, obviously the first thing I needed to do is paint my MDF board. Its really important at this step to do the whole thing, every millimetre of the board needs covering in chalk paint, back and front. MDF is very absorbable, being outside, with the rain WILL destroy all your hard work unless its protected properly. Also, bonus is you have a reversible chalk board. Two in one and all that.

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So thats the boring bit over. By this point I had a giant chalk board an I was ready to get creative. I had been sketching out a few ideas, I wanted something quite simple, but still very colourful. And using Picmonkey I had something like this planned out.

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Now, I discovered a little hack that makes Chalkboard drawing incredibly easy. You’ve probably seen those gorgeous murals, well… odds are most of ’em are done the way I’m going to show you. There will be some drawn freehand by people that are just actually incredible artists. I am not one of those people. So what I did was print out the above. I had to have a play around with sizings, but after a little while I ended up with this layout.


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Now heres the cool bit. Once you’ve decided where you want each letter to be placed, simply turn her your sheet, grab your graphite pencil and scribble away. You want the entire back of your letter/object ect covered in pencil.

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Now flip your paper back over, placing it exactly where you want it and trace over the outline of your letter/object ect with a pen.

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When you lift your paper…. voila. An exact outline of what you want to be chalked. Easy as that!



After the initial glee of seeing that chalk board art hack really does work, I cracked on and got the outline of the rest of the board drawn out.

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Then i was finally ready to get started with the chalk pens. I decided on the chalk- La pens, because they had really good reviews, they also aren’t completely permanent. I can wash off with a wet sponge, but just a spray of water (or rain) would leave it all perfectly in tact. Ideal for something thats going to be outside really.

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Once I’d finished the writing and the festoon lights, it was time to start on the biggest job, the flowers! I won’t lie, this part took me about two days to complete – although I was having to stop for school runs, cleaning, making dinner, bedtime stories ect. Around half way though I was close to giving up, but…. I did really want to see it finished and up outside, so I carried on chalking out those little flowers until eventually I had a half border of multicoloured flowers.

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Then finally it was time to hang. What I was hoping to have finished in a day, took three. But, I actually really enjoyed the process, knowing I would get the writing almost perfect because of the hack was so satisfying, no trying and struggling to get it perfect freehand.

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A lovely little bit of Summer added to the decking. Which is nice, considering we aren’t getting an actual Summer. I managed to take two photos of it finished before the heavens opened and I got drenched. It has since not stopped raining. Hopefully once Summer comes back, I’ll be able to take a much sunnier photo of it out there.

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I’ve still got a few bits to get done out there before I’ll say Ive done for this Summer. all of which require at least one day of sunshine, something we aren’t really getting at the minute. I thought i’d put together another one of my little still to-do lists for the decking area:

– Re-paint the shed door. (I’ve something really cool planned!)

– Get rid of all the wood down the side of the decking.

– Re-stain the deck.

– Fit hanging wall garden (very excited about this project!)

– Hang tea-light holders above the chalkboard art.

– Rehome lavender plants in the planters to somewhere else in the garden. (They are mutant plants, I’ve never seen lavender grow so crazily.)


Thats all that I really want to get done out here this year (the front of the house is a whole different story, but we’ll get to that in a few weeks.) I’ll have a full update post up at some point before the end of Summer.

So thats it, my chalk board art is complete. I really did enjoy the process and It is definitely something I will be doing more of now I know how to get it perfect every time.



The little woman pretends.


DIY: Rustic Planter.

Back when I posted the gallery wall update post (here.) I added a little list at the bottom, a list of things in the living room left to do. Well, today i’m tackling one of those things. Filling the bottom shelves of the TV unit.

On one side, I’ve placed a lantern that was originally in the kitchen….

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Lovely. And on the other side.. I thought I’d add some greenery in the form of an artificial plant filled plant box. Something simple, something cheap and most importantly…Something that can be DIY-ed.

Here’s what I used:

– Plank of wood. 2 depending on how big you want your planter. – I’ll explain the measurements I chose further down.

– Stain/paint. I went with a lovely rich and dark stain.

– Wood glue. This depends solely on wether your using the next thing.

– Corner brackets. If you’re not using these, skip the wood glue and screw your box together.

-MDF base, i used some leftover 1/4″ MDF

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And here’s what I did.

First, lets talk measurements. I picked up artificial plants from IKEA a few weeks ago, I already knew these where being used for this project. So I shoved them together, setting them out how i would in the planter and measured the area around them. In doing this I ended up with a box that was 36cm in length, 10cm length and 10 cm in height. It doesn’t sound big – because it isn’t. But it fits perfectly in the area. So firstly, I’d decide where you want your planter and plan your measurements from there.

So next, onto the actual building. First, sam took out his mitre saw and chopped the plan of wood i had marked out measurements on.  We (Sam) decided it would look so much neater if we (he) cut the joints at an angle to fit together rather than just slotting two straight pieces against each other.  He was right, it does.

Once the wood had been cut (including the base) I got out the wood glue and stuck those corners together. It isn’t the easiest, you do have to hold each corner for a little while until the glue has started to stick. But once they stand on their own just leave the whole thing to dry for a few hours.


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The next thing I did was actually a little silly. What I should have done prior to that last step, is build up the planter around the base, sticking them all together. I however forgot about the base, and so I had to put glue round the edges and slot it down and into the bottom. It got a bit messy. Don’t make my mistake, glue the planter around the base and leave the whole thing to set.

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So, one my planter was made and the glue had dried, it was time to pain, or in my case stain. I wanted to keep my planter very simple. Of course there is nothing stopping you painting it any colour you fancy, decorate it with anything you can get your hands on. But I wanted simple and so I chose the ikea dark stain. ITs a fantastic colour and it brings out the grain beautifully. Two coats of that and leave it to dry.

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Now, its time to add my corner brackets. As I stated earlier, if you aren’t using corner brackets (all though you should really re-consider, there are some gorgeous ones about!) you shouldn’t use glue. I used it because the whole frame would have extra support from the brackets. Without the glue would be too flimsy, so use screws. Anyway, first Sam (I’m awful with a drill, but I am working on it! ha) drilled a few little pre-holes..

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And then using a screwdriver I fixed the brackets to the planter.

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And thats it, my DIY rustic planter was finished! All that was a left to do was to pop in those plants.

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It really finishes off the TV unit beautifully, I’m glad to have those bottom shelves finished.

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So, back to my list, here’s what I still have left to do in the living room:

  • Fit magnet catch -ers to the TV unit doors. (2/3 so far, I’m expecting to have it finished by Christmas.)
  • Replace the skirting board. (Fit, calk and paint them)
  • Replace the door frames. (Same as above.)
  • Repaint both doors.
  • Fit new plate over high plug socket near the sofa.
  • Make/Buy radiator cover. – We haven’t decided yet, our radiators are ridiculously high, so ‘standard’ covers don’t fit.
  • Make/buy cushions for the sofa – It already holds 11, but it just isn’t enough! I NEED MORE!
  • Find something to go on both the bottom shelves of the TV unit.
  • Replace back door. (This is a way way down the line project for when we actually own the house *still in deposit saving phase*)



The little woman pretends.






No zip cushion tutorial.

Its no secret that I love cushions. I just do! My style is kind of neutral, I like calm, relaxed, clean. BUT when it comes to cushions, I like the boost of personality, textures, colours, patterns that cushions will give a room. Hence why I’ve got so many of them. Anyway, we got a new sofa a couple of months ago. I already replaced the *lovely* floral cushions – they’re not horrible, just not my taste –  with some cooler, more varied ones from H&M home – which btw, if you haven’t had a look in their homeware section, go. now. – well, once you’ve finished my blog post. So much beauty and their prices are ridiculously low.



Anyway, back to the blog post. Cushions, I’ve bought them all so far, But having free reign of fabrics, convinced me to make some up. And honestly, when they’re as easy as your about to see, you’ll probably only make them all,  buying ones you really ‘need‘ too – because some cushions are too beautiful to just leave in the shop. The best thing about these particular cushions, they are fab for beginner sew-ist – totally invented term for the newbies-. There’s no zips, buttons, velcro. Nothing daffy about them at all. You can’t really do it wrong, so I think they’re definitely a good motivation if you’re lacking in sewing mojo.

So cracking on. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • fabric, for an average scatter cushion, 1/2 a metre will do perfectly.
  • fabric scissors.
  • dressmakers pins.
  • dressmakers tape measure.
  • cushion to fill once its finished.



And here’s what you need to do:


First, grab your fabric, we need to cut out the right size, the entire cushion will be one continues piece of fabric. I’ve drawn up a little something to give you an idea of what it should look like.



My fabric dimension are 38 1/2″ length (16″ cushion F + 16″ cushion B + 6″ flap + 1/2″) x 18 1/2″ wide  this includes seem allowance  of 1/2″



First, overlock the top and bottom edge of your fabric, – If you don’t have an overlocker, pinking shears are fine, if you don’t have either, the double fold method I have a post on here will work as well.



Now, you want to set your fabric pattern side down. The way its being constructed, the pattern needs to be on the inside – then when you turn it out, all seams are hidden. So, once thats done turn the top down 3 inches and pin the sides.



Now, go to the bottom and turn it over 1/2″ pinning and then sewing to secure.



Then, fold the bottom, up to the top. Take out one of the side pins (carefully) place the folded over fabric from the bottom and re-pin. Tack your pins all the way down, then do the same to the other side.




Now its time to sew. Run a straight stitch down either side – remembering your backstitch to secure.-



And finish off with the overlocker.



Finally, turn out. Run over it with an iron for crisp edges.



You can now pop your cushion in. Wedge the bottom of your cushion, under your flap to keep it all looking nice and neat.



Your no zip cushion is done!




I also made up the stags head one, the fabric was just too pretty to leave behind!  So, thats two cushion-less spaces filled, but I’ve still a fair few left. So i’ve put together a little wish list of dreamboat cushions -told you I was obsessed!- that i’ll be trying to get my hands on soon.



Red diamond print cushion – Yorkshire linen company £10.99

Feather – Etsy £14

Mustard- Tesco  £12.99

Black/copper – Freemans £22

White & black diamond – H&M  £6.99

Blue/green pattern – Etsy  £22

White embroidery – ZaraHome  £19.99

Teal pattern – Society 6   £14

Navy floral – Marks & Spencer  £19.50

As you can tell, i’m all about the colour in the living room. the great thing about adding colour with textiles, is that they can easily be changed, combined with new colours and moved around to give a whole new vibe for very little cost.

Don’t forget to give me a tag on insta (@thelittlewomanpretends) if you have a go. I’d love to see!


The little woman pretends.

*collaborated post*





Outdoor living: prettying up the decking.

Roughly one year ago Sam asked me what I wanted for our anniversary, being super practical and of course a great lover of all things Interior design – though this is technically exterior-, I asked for decking in the back garden.  Anyway, I got what I asked for, Sam worked tirelessly for two days getting it up – a process that went a little like this…


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And seen as though I seem to be obsessed with Before & After pics at the minute, here’s on of those too!



Well, its a year on and the deck is still looking lovely, but actually maybe a little bit basic. All garden funds last year were spent on the decking and new dining area, so it got left as it was – though its still so much better than it started!

Anyway, Summer is back, Garden work can resume, and i’m wanting to fancy up that little area a bit this year. I found some gorgeous garden inspo via Homify.



And scoured the web for any garden related potential purchases. The first buy will be a gas BBQ, our coal one has to be dragged to the back of the garden every time we use it, NOT practical. We’ve decided on the premium 4 burner gas bbq with side hob. (Argos.) Its on sale and you get 25% off a protective cover – Big mistake we made with our coal BBQ , was leaving it uncovered for winter after winter. Its quite the bargain.

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Another thing I really want is a pergola over the dining table. After the monster build that was the TV unit, i’m having to really convince sam to get his tools back out. I just want to hang festoon lights from it, I really fell in love with this little set up in Ikea.



And the rest is just decoration.



Hanging star tea light holder : £2.99, Homebase.

Hanging lantern : £10, TKMAXX

Bird house: £6, Sainsburys

Festoon lights: £19.99, Amazon

Artificial tree: £35, Ikea

Large clay plant pot: £20, Amara living. 

Stags head: £13.26, Jardinitis

Solar floor lamp: £16, Ikea

Chalk board design: Catinacricco

I love the everything about this mood board. Its surprisingly modern, not usually my taste, but we live in a terraced house in quite a busy city, as much as i’d love a quaint english garden, I’d rather create a fitting spot realistic to our surroundings. The rest of the garden has been taken over by the kids, so it’ll be nice to have a ‘grown-up’ zone out there. If you have me on Instagram, you’ll see I’ve already started buying some little bits. I absolutely love the outdoor chalkboard art, so i’ll hopefully have an exciting tutorial up over the next couple of weeks on something similar.


So thats my plan for the decking are. I’ll be back with an update in a few weeks.



The little woman pretends.


 * This post was in collaboration with Homify. *

Ticking my way through the to do list.

The living room was never actually the worst room in the house, but it seems to be the room that has had the most work put in, especially over the past few months. I realised though, that i’ve never actually put up any before and afters of the lounge, or any other room in the house. So I thought I’d start today. This week I ticked off another ‘to-do’ on that big ‘ol list of mine. wall art above the sofa.



I really wanted some massive frames filled with something beautiful, but because I’m so ridiculously fussy and a complete cheapskate, I couldn’t find anything good enough, mainly though because it was going to be such a massive piece I couldn’t find anything perfect enough to be blown up so big. Anyway, so I went back to basics, deciding to just get that gallery wall put back up. Before we started work on the TV unit, the frames sat on the back wall.

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I originally didn’t want it put back up after all the re-decorating, because I thought it looked way to busy, turns out I just didn’t like the black frames, soo… cheap and easy way to change it all? I sprayed them white – apart from three which I thought would look fab in a metallic gold-. I spent a good few hours replacing photographs, and then I copied the exact same layout as before and got them all up.

As much as I did want a big piece of art up there (and maybe I still will, once i’ve found ‘the one’) I love the big injection of our family personality that the photographs have given to the room. It is after all, a family home.




So, now that I finished that job, its all looking a little bit more finished. As I said earlier I haven’t yet shared any before and afters. We moved in here in Nov 2013 after spending a month decorating as much as we could. I’ve searched high and low for some photographs, they aren’t at all the best quality… but they give you an idea of what we started with.








Still left to do in the living room:

  • Fit magnet catch -ers to the TV unit doors.
  • Replace the skirting board. (Fit, calk and paint them)
  • Replace the door frames. (Same as above.)
  • Repaint both doors.
  • Fit new plate over high plug socket near the sofa.
  • Make/Buy radiator cover. – We haven’t decided yet, our radiators are ridiculously high, so ‘standard’ covers don’t fit.
  • Make/buy cushions for the sofa – It already holds 11, but it just isn’t enough! I NEED MORE!
  • Find something to go on both the bottom shelves of the TV unit.
  • Replace back door. (This is a way way down the line project for when we actually own the house *still in deposit saving phase*)


Thats quite a list, but you know how much I love a good project!



Te little woman pretends.

Pinty plus – DIY bookends.

Late last month I revealed how I had become a ‘Pinty pluser’. I among other crafty bloggers have been given a bunch of fab chalk spray paints  by Novasol Uk to do what we wanted with. For my first project I decided to chalk paint a fabric armchair in the most beautiful olive green shade – You can find that post here.


In last months delivery – along with the chalk paint- I also received some cool MDF letters in Mischa & Izzy’s initials. So, for this months crafty project I thought i’d make something out of them – avoiding the rather simple paint them & hang them on the wall project.


 I decided to make them into book ends!

Its no secret we built a rather amazing unit in the living room last month (full project links here & here). I’ve been gathering my books from all corners of the house and setting them up in the new shelves ever since, and whilst I did find some gorgeous marble horse head book ends (as pretty as they where I am NOT paying £50+ for a pair of book ends!!) There isn’t much better than handmade is there?

So, I’d decided what I wanted to make them into, and I found this gorgeous Pinterest inspo photo for the type of finish I want. I love the copper peeping out through the dark paint – although my version is gold and black.



Here’s what I used:

  • MDF letters – As stated earlier, mine were free, but I saw hobby craft had some in for about £2 each in a sale last week, and eBay have loads of sellers.
  • 4x 3/4″ thick MDF blocks. (These make up the side & bottom of the book ends. actual measurements below.)
  • Glue. – Hobbycraft extra strong glue.
  • Gold spray paint – Wilko’s do a fab range.
  • Pinty plus spray chalk paint in Black plum.



And heres what I did.

First I had to figure out how tall and thick I wanted my book ends, I measured the letters and settled on a 20 cm height and a 20cm bottom length block for the M.

Once cut, I grabbed two of the blocks, glued the end and stuck them together creating an L shape.




I then popped some glue on the parts of the letter that would be stuck down – So the bottoms, and the right/top side of the ‘M’. Before sticking that down and leaving the whole thing to dry.




Now my bookend is basically made, it was time to paint. I showed the finish I wanted a bit further up, I love the metallic peeking out from the dark black. It’ll look perfect on my crisp white shelves. So to do this, I gave a spritz of gold, only light, and not bothering about covering the whole letter, it will only be little areas visible once I had finished. I left the gold to dry for roughly about an hour.



And then I sprayed the entire thing over with the black plum Pinty plus chalk paint. I thought with it being a dark colour, I might need a couple of coats, but I got full coverage in only one. I left them out to dry in the sun for another hour. They where touch dry in less than twenty minutes, but I didn’t want to risk potential smudges by rushing into the next step.



Once the whole thing had dried, It was time to take of some of the black chalk paint to reveal the gold. To do this I simply got a cup of water and some cotton buds.



And I gave those edges a good rub. For some parts, I used a (damp) rough side of a sponge, only the tip of a corner though, I didn’t want to wipe all the paint off. This will only work on chalk paint/water based paints. Stronger paints require paint thinner ect. to remove, but by using that you’ll also take off the gold underneath. So stick to anything you can clean up with water.



Once i’d rubbed them down, I just had to wait for the chalk paint to re-dry in the areas i’d gotten wet.



And thats it, my book ends are finished.  Ready to go do their job and hold up my books.





Again, I loved using the Novasol pinty plus spray paint, however I would have liked the black to be a little darker. Its a lovely colour and the finished book ends match the set of drawers I painted last year, but the drawers are actually a slate grey, not black.  I’m gunna’ finish of some frames for the sewing room in the same colour – well, once I’ve reclaimed it back, a month on and its still being used for storing a giant cabinet.

I’ve already started thinking of next months Pinty plus project, I’m planning on going a much, MUCH brighter colour.




The little woman pretends.



Pinty plus ambassador: Chalk painted armchair up cycle.

A few weeks ago I was approached by the lovely Clare from Maybush studio. She had recently started work with a brand called Novasol spray UK, who have recently released a brand new range of paint, Pinty plus Chalk spray paint. Clare had a very exciting opportunity for me, to become a Pinty plus ambassador. Of course I jumped for it, free chalk paint in exchange for blogging about my up cycle? who wouldn’t!

A week or so later, I had decided on my up cycle project and emailed off for my chosen colour (Vintage olive) I was told to expect a 4-5 day delivery, so I was extremely happy to have it delivered in only two. Co-incidentaly the exact same day I went to pick up the piece of furniture that would be being up cycled.



The piece of furniture in question was a chair. I’ve always wanted a queen Anne wingback armchair, they’re beautiful! And as luck would have it Nostalgiques – A local furniture restoration business, owned by the fabulous Nicola- had a beautiful replica for sale for only £30. *Just a heads up, I’m told Nicola has a fair few of these for sale, you can find her Facebook link here if you want to snap one up.*



The fantastic thing about using chalk paint is that prep isn’t needed, the chair was in good condition, having only a few little scuffs and marks, so I was a ready to start pretty much straight away.

First, I moved my chair outside, luckily we had a few days of glorious sunshine last week, so the timing couldn’t have been better. I took off the seat stood staring at it for at least ten minutes. Other than the few scuff marks that would have been easy to clean, the chair was in perfect condition. This was one of those projects that made my stomach flip, there was every chance I could completely ruin a beautiful chair, I very nearly lost my nerve and didn’t do it!



After giving myself a little pep-talk, I grabbed my supplies and prepared to give the chair a new lease of life. I’ve never used chalk paint on fabric before and this was the first time i’ve ever come across a spray chalk paint, so I tweaked the process I had researched. For this up cycle I used a water filled spray bottle, a sponge with a scourer side and of course the spray paint. Thats it.



First, I grabbed the water spray and gave the chair a good spray, It needed to be damp NOT drenched. Apparently this helps the chalk paint soak into the fabric fibres, rather than settling on top of them. This is really important for the feel of the finished chair, it still needs to be comfortable, not a hard- paint coated surface.



I then held my breath and started spraying the chalk paint. I started with the part that the seat cushion would sit on. The plan was to practice the first coat on somewhere that could be covered if I hated it. The key to using chalk paint on fabric is layers, lots of very light layers. To combat the risk of build up, I then used the scourer side of a sponge to give the area I had just sprayed a blend. Just lightly scrubbing, this helped blend the patches and removed any excess paint that hadn’t yet sunk in.



Happy with how it was progressing, I carried on, with both excitement and anticipation bubbling away, I completed the first coat on the whole chair – including the seat cushion.






Drying time varies, but out in the sunshine it was touch dry within about twenty minutes. But the paint had soaked into the fabric, and so I wanted to leave it a little longer. After watching Madagascar and having a short nap with Izzy, the first coat had fully  dried, so I gave it all a good scrub, getting rid of any chalky residue. The second coat went on shortly after, So I repeated the process, only this time giving it a much lighter spritz of water. All together I gave the chair four coats of chalk paint.



For all four coats, I used just over three cans of the chalk paint. I use spray paint quite a lot and I really was impressed by how much coverage came from each can.

Once all four coats had been sprayed and dried, it was time for the real hard work. Giving it all a good scrub. Even though I was rubbing in-between each new coat, it still had quite a lot of residue on it, enough so that my fingers would be green after just touching the chair. Of course this isn’t too good for a chair, seen as people will expect to be sitting on it. I scrubbed for a while, getting all that excess chalk out, this did not affect the coverage at all, if anything it really brought the green out and after scrubbing I gave it all a really good hover.



And that was it, it was ready to go back into the lounge!




Its been left the whole weekend to ‘settle’ and after initially having a very small amount of chalkiness remaining, I’ve given it another scrub and hoover, and its now completely fine. No chalk comes off it at all.



I am SO glad I took the risk on this chair, it looks so luxurious and gives a boost of much needed colour against the big white TV unit. At the start of the project, when I was picking colours, it was a choice between Vintage olive and mustard, I definitely chose right – Although i’m super keen to see a mustard version!- The fantastic thing about this chalk paint, is its flexibility, as I said earlier, its doesn’t coat the fibres, it soaks into them, so its still textured, the scrubbing has retained the softness making it a still functional piece of furniture. Using the Pinty plus spray chalk paint was a massive time saver, it took me roughly ten minutes to spray each layer and give a rub down. Much less time than using a standard brush and tinned paint.

Now if you’ll excuse me, i’m off to stare at my beautiful new chair.




*If you want to see what all the fuss is about, you can purchase Pinty plus chalk spray paint on their website – link here– 18 colours to choose from at £11.50 per can, discounts available if you order over 3 cans and standard delivery is free on all UK orders. *


The little woman pretends.











The big build- Phase 2.

So at the beginning of the week I shared the first part of our Tv unit build, it ended with our unit fully built and looking like this.



The second half of last week was spent painting and finishing up, basically just making it pretty. As solid as the 3/4″ MDF was, it certainly wasn’t pretty.

Before painting could begin, I got out the builders calk. I LOVE this stuff, its for filling gaps, and I wanted the unit to be seamless.



Once the Calk was dry, I gave the calked bits a light sand to smooth out any rough parts, before starting on the painting. Now, I love painting, but even for me painting this unit was tedious, it took three coats of Homebase Eggshell in brilliant white.

To get a pristine finish I had to follow a very specific routine. Painting in sections,  I used a large roller, then painted the gaps with a paintbrush, before using a mini roller to blend the brush strokes with the part that had been rollered. The fantastic thing about this paint is that firstly, its quick drying time, it says 2-3 hours on the tin, but I found it was touch dry within half an hour and completely ready for a new coat within an hour. Also its a low Voc paint, this means the fumes were minimal, so I wasn’t being gassed out. Lastly, it is incredibly hard wearing. I highly recommend this paint if your doing a project that requires furniture or anything metal to be painted white.

I managed to get the first two coats up in one day, the last (by which point I had completely had enough of white paint) finished the day after.




You’ll notice that I haven’t painted the top lip of the unit, thats where the next part came in. Adding the top panel. This is what will join the cabinet to the ceiling and also hold the lights. We bought some beautiful wall lights from Ikea, I didn’t want to have to start faffing around getting electricians in, so we went for plug in wall lights as opposed to the ones that are connected to the mains. We created a gap at the bottom of the top panel, threading the wire under before attaching the panel to the unit.



From there the panel could be painted, before fixing the lamps to the brackets and attaching the brackets to the panel.





Last on the list was the cupboard doors, which meant bringing out the white paint again. These needed three coats on both sides, before they could go on.




There’s a little bit of push from the doors, they will fit flush one the new magnet thingys (I have absolutely no idea of the real name) have arrived and been fixed on.

We found our handles on Ebay, I think they’re a perfect mixture of old and new, they have an slight industrial nod, that ties in with the brackets holding the wall lamps, but in a real traditional way. They’re perfect.



All that was left to do was stand back and admire our work. I am absolutely in love with the new unit, it gives the room more space but gives us more storage as well. It’s been designed and made with our life in mind, meaning it fits and works perfectly, with the added bonus of it being SO beautiful.



Cost breakdown of Phase two:

Eggshell paint in brilliant white – £30 (for two, although i’ve still got 2/3 of the second tin left.)

Ikea Wall lamps – £36 (for both)

Cast iron handles -£16.18 (for 6)

Coax wire – £4.50 (needed to extend the virgin media box from it original place to the other side of the room)

Total cost – £86.68.

Phase one – £182.38

Phase two – £86.68.

Total project cost – £269.06 ( it would have been £40 cheaper if I hadn’t have made the mistake with measurements back at the start)


It seems like quite a lot, but actually we’ve done really well with the cost, our old Tv unit, (bought in German Ikea 4 years ago) cost us roughly £500 and its tiny compared to this one.

So, if any of you are thinking of tackling a big build like this, here’s a few things I learnt.

Re-measure, and then again… and then ask someone to go over your measurements. And just before you go to buy your materials, remeasure one last time. Luckily my mistake didn’t cost too much to fix, but having only one measurement wrong could cost you a fortune in materials you can’t use.

Remember practicalities. There is no back to the bottom set of drawers, this is how we climb through to behind the unit should wires need changing or replacing. The tiny circles in the back of the shelves, above the cupboards – they’re positioned exactly at the plug socket switches, so they can be turned on and off. I wasn’t happy about drilling a hole in the perfect- white shelf unit, but I would be more un-happy should my house set on fire from having plug sockets switched on constantly.

If in doubt, ASK! Savoy (where we bought our MDF from) were fantastic. The unit originally was 33cm deep, one of the guys went over my plans and pointed out we’d save a fortune if we made them 30cm deep. He was right, those big sheets (which you have to buy whole, you can’t just buy what you need) cut perfectly into four lots of 30cm sheets. They also pointed out any potential flaws, meaning we could resolve them before it was built and realised it needed changing.

Be open to changes. The cupboards were originally drawers, but this would A) cost more and B) take much longer to make.  So we decided to make them into cupboards, something I am more than happy with now. The shelves, were originally split down the middle to make two sets of two either side the Tv. We realised this would make them closed in and so took out that middle leaving them wide.

So thats it, my lovely built in unit is finished, its been worth all the long hours of labour. There are some finishing touches to add, i’ll be on the lookout for pretty bits to adorn the new shelves, and my Instagram feed will no doubt become littered with Shelfies. But all the hard work is done, and i’m so ridiculously happy with the results. I catch myself just standing and staring at it every now and again, marvelling at the fact that in the space of a week it has come from an image in my mind to real life.






The little woman pretends.